Our group enjoys being outdoors! Nature is our classroom. We appreciate learning all around Camp Herms in El Cerrito 3 weeks a month, and throughout the Tilden Nature Area above Kensington one week a month. These beautiful open spaces allow us to learn in a variety of ways and connect with nature. We appreciate, respect, and inquire about the legacy of life in this region. We recognize that we are on xučyun (Huichin) Ohlone land whose landscapes and relationships have changed immensely over time. We work on learning some Chochenyo Ohlone names for plants and animals to honor the resilience of indigenous people. We do our best to care for the land and animals.


We marvel at the knowledge that has been shared and developed by people over time. We observe and engage with one another in safe and kind ways to practice and strengthen skills in developing our understanding of the world around us. 

 OWLS Community Agreements: Be Kind & Be Safe

Brooke’s Open Wilderness Literacy and Science (OWLS) forest microschool program is an alternative educational experience/outdoor learning pod for children ages 6-11 to connect, grow, and learn together in nature. 

Our mixed age group of diverse learners celebrates our unique interests and learning modalities. We enjoy curating a kind and safe community to support our learning in connection with nature and each other. 

We support our understanding and appreciations of difference. We cultivate the understanding that our brains and bodies are unique and that our age and interests can influence our learning. We notice how we all learn and get support in different ways. We pay attention to how animals, plants, and fungi all have similar needs to grow. We also notice how each may grow a bit differently depending on their conditions. When we notice difficulties to thrive, we understand that we can tend to our environment and foster growth.

OWLS Sites, Program Days & Times


Program runs on: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Students may attend 1, 2, or 3 days a week. They may be dropped off at 9 am or 11am. Pick up is at 1pm or 3:15pm.

Sign up for a phone call or a visit day today! *Receive 50% off your first visit day. **Siblings enrolled together are also eligible for a 5% discount. 

OWLS Spring 2024

Our SPRING Term groups for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. 

Now Enrolling for 2024-2025!

OWLS Outdoor Classroom & Curriculum

The outdoor classroom provides a multitude of opportunities to learn and grow in connection with each other and nature through hands-on engagement with our environment. We develop caring relationships as empathetic team members to facilitate independence and collaboration. Our natural experiences and studies inspire a love of learning and literature.

Brooke builds relationships with students to design units of inquiry and study. She documents their explorations through note taking and photographs. Each week, she puts together a community newsletter to share their investigations and discoveries with their families. This newsletter also includes updates, reminders and helpful links to community resources and events, as well as, homework assignments. 

She uses Next Generation Science Standards and California English Language Arts Standards to guide her lesson designs. Literacy & Science instruction is offered through guided reading, novel exploration, and interactive writing.

The curriculum and units of inquiry are inspired by nature! Literacy skills are practiced and strengthened alongside deep investigations into plants, animals, and fungi. Scientific knowledge is expanded upon through read alouds, shared reading, guided reading, novel exploration, and interactive writing that supports academic and social-emotional development.

OWLS Daily Schedule

Sample Daily Schedule

We always make sure to hike, explore and do one sit spot. Snack is always around 10:30 and lunch is always around noon with play time after.  We do up to an hour of literacy work and allot an hour to practice skills, although these may be broken up into smaller chunks of time rather than in one solid hour. Adjustments are made based on weather, environment, and interest. 

OWLS Home Nature Connections

Homework is suggested to enrich our studies and allow students to develop independence, responsibility, and accountability. 



Add nature observations/adventures to their journal.

Science Studies

Animal Names

The Tradition of Animal Names, Coyote’s Guide To Connecting with Nature (2016), Nature Names pp.348-350

Animals are regarded as teachers that are recognized for the gifts they offer us. This association strengthens human-creature relationships, peer-to-peer mentoring, and empathy for wild creatures.

Trackers Micro School: Daria’s group: returning students Fall 2020: North American Mammals, Daria & Brooke’s groups: 2020: Birds of Camp Herms, Daria & Brooke’s groups: 2021: North American Reptiles

OWLS 2022: Insects

OWLS 2023: Mammals

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